10 Best Nightlife in San José, Costa Rica: Dine, Drink, Dance

There's something for everyone after the sun sets in San Jose, Costa. Rica. You can eat, shop and dance all under one roof at El Pueblo, an essential destination for some of the city's best nightlife. Party ravers flock to Club Vertigo, among Central America's most popular dance clubs with several dance floors, serious sound systems, and world-class DJs. On th mellower side there's the Shakespeare Bar beneath the Little Theater Group, perfect for post-show or no show cocktails, sometimes with live music. In Heredia, Miraflores Disco keeps the dance floor live from sundown to sunup at 6 am, with a full kitchen open all night until 5 am. Here's where a strong following of Ticos and Ticas come to cut loose. Craft beer enthusiasts may want to warm up with a tour of Costa Rica's Craft Brewing Company, with free tasting flights of this blossoming brewery's best ales. The Public House Irish Pub has an evolving list of craft beers on its menu and an inviting atmosphere that mixes well with its modern decor. The chic and savvy seem to frequent La Esquina, the iittle bar inside El Cuartel de la Boca del Monte, where there are more than 200 cocktails on the menu.


In an old refurebished factory an hour outside the city of San Jose, a couple of beer afficionados are going against the grain, crafting artisinal beer using only whole grains, hops, yeast, and water. The concept is novel in a country that loves its national beers, Imperial and Pilsen, but CRCBC's beers stand up to high tasting standards. Every Wednesday through Friday from 4pm to 6pm they offer a tour of the premises where they explain the hands-on artisinal process and offer tastings of more than seven different types of beer. CRBC's signature beers are the Libertas Golden Ale and Segua Red Ale.

Recommended for San José's Best Nightlife because: Tours are offered Wednesday through Friday from 4 to 6 pm.

Sophia's expert tip: Visit for a free tour and tasting flight of craft beer.

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Miraflores Disco Club has been the hottest spot to dance and party in the otherwise subdued suburb of Heredia, a short ride from the capital city of San Jose, for more than forty years. This legendary dance club is only open on the weekends from Friday to Sunday, from 9pm to 6am. Hi-tech lasers, plasma screens, and s state of the art sound system enhance the experience, and two DJs spinning dancable electronic and Latin mixes keep everyone at Miraflores Disco Club on his toes. Two bars serve thirsty patrons, and a newly installed kitchen means you can satisfy cravings for a midnight snack and work up an appetite for breakfast on your way out.

Recommended for San José's Best Nightlife because: Parties are always being reimagined at this everlasting dance disco.

Sophia's expert tip: Ladies Night is often and usually includes free drinks for hours.

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The Public House Irish Pub in San Jose, Costa Rica is a modern take on the traditional, with a long list of Costa Rican craft beers and signature cocktails such as the Maracuyazo, a shot of bright orange chiliguaro made with maracuy�, and the Nutella Martini, a decadently sweet treat with a twist. A post- college aged crowd of mainly locals and the occasional tourist mingles to the sounds of indie rock around the vintage modern decor. Find The Public House Irish Pub in the pcoket of San Jos� known as Paseo Col�n, 100 meters north of the Toyota dealership.

Recommended for San José's Best Nightlife because: The list of Costa Rican craft beers is only getting longer.

Sophia's expert tip: Signature shots of chiliguaro are nicely chased with cold Costa Rican craft beers.

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While it's best known as a place for foreign men to pick-up Costa Rican women for the night or the hour, it's also considered one of downtown San Jose's most popular drinking and dancing destinations. Occupying a stately refurbished Colonial mansion near Parque Moraz�n, Key Largo looks as classy as it does clandestine. Inside, there are three separate bar areas and a large dance floor that really cranks up as the night goes on. Live bands take the stage on special nights, and the bartenders aren't the only seasoned experts in their fields. Bonus: attached to a twenty-four hour restaurant.

Recommended for San José's Best Nightlife because: Key Largo is a well-known and widely recognized as the place to pick-up working women.

Sophia's expert tip: Open Monday through Sunday 8pm to 2:30 am, with a 24-hour restaurant next door.

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Once the only place to check out consistently high-quality live music, especially jazz, in San Jose, The Jazz Cafe remains the best venue to see, hear, drink and eat under one roof. It is located in the San Pedro neighborhood, has a restaurant with good food and a full bar to go with the music. The shows vary from night to night, and past artists have included Mike Stern, Julien Lourau, Diego Urcola, Dennis Chambers, Frank Gambale, Steve Smith, and Scott Henderson, to name a few. You'll find tourists, expats, Costa Ricans, and an international crowd at the Jazz Cafe, so it's a nice place to socialize with musically like-minded folks in the city.

Recommended for San José's Best Nightlife because: The real deal happens here, the stage is consistently home to the best international musical talent.

Sophia's expert tip: This Jazz Cafe in San Pedro is the original venue for live music and nightlife.

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El Pueblo is an essential San Jose nightlife destination with a bevy of attractions under its adobe roof. Restuarants, cafes, shops, and dance clubs mingle well in this Spanish Colonial style complex, and any time of day or night there's bound to be some hustle and bustle. The crowd is mixed, young and old, Ticos and tourists, everyone goes to El Pueblo to dine, dance, and shop for souvenirs of Costa Rica. It's not until after 10pm that the dance clubs really get started, and then there are plenty of music venues and styles to choose from, and often live DJs.

Recommended for San José's Best Nightlife because: So much San Jose nightlife under one very long red roof.

Sophia's expert tip: Souvenir shop, enjoy dinner, then drink and disco hop from club to club.

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What was once a modest establishment for artsy types has become one of San Jose's trendiest spots for all walks of life, especially the young and hip set, who flock to El Cuartel de la Boca del Monte for the scene, the bar, and the live music, which is on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. One section of the old Costa Rican style house that was remodeled back in 1985 has been fashioned into its own little bar, called La Esquina, which is a nice place to tuck into an appetizer like green plantain ceviche or the Cuartel salad, and sip on one of the 200+ cocktails on the menu.

Recommended for San José's Best Nightlife because: La Esquina, the charming little bar for drinks and dinner.

Sophia's expert tip: An enforced dress code prohibits flips flops, shorts, and jeans.

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Nightlife appropriate for the whole family, the Little Theatre Group offers productions in both Spanish and English, and is well-known asthe oldest troupe in Costa Rica; it's now in its 62 year. The group's experience and expert management is evident in the quality productions it puts on throughout the year, generally four different shows per season. Past shows have included Agatha Christie's whodunit "The Mousetrap" and Canadian Noel Montagano's "Tuesdays with Morrie." Both professional and amateur actors are selected during casting calls, lending a dynamic mix of maturity and enthusiasm to performances. As the name suggests, the theater itself is intimate and has audience members in close connection with the stage.

Recommended for San José's Best Nightlife because: The Shakespeare Bar below beats many most of the city's dive bars.

Sophia's expert tip: Reservations and payment in advance are suggested for some shows.

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If you really want to dance in San Jose, Castro's is the place. The music ranges from salsa to reggaeton to electronic trance selections, though it's always upbeat and focuses on Latin music and moves. Castro's is not a fancy place, but dressing up is not uncommon and flip flops won't make it past the doorman. True to its traditional roots when Costa Rican dads and grandads used to come to the capital city to dance, Castro's still offers little snacks, called bocas, with drinks. Daily drink discounts and special promotions make Castro's a long-standing favorite with locals and tourists.

Recommended for San José's Best Nightlife because: Daily promotions often include drink specials and free chiliguaro shots.

Sophia's expert tip: Castro's offers free mamaditas for ladies on weekends before midnight.

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Club Vertigo will have your head spinning and your feet moving on its expansive dance floor with high ceilings. It's a popular club that features special events throughout the year with DJs spinning the latest house, techno, and hip hop music. Although it's located in a business district of San, Vertigo's modern rave atmosphere makes for an out of this world party experience. Considered one of the leading clubs in Central America, Club Vertigo has hosted some of the best parties with the world's top DJs and has recently undergone a major makeover including a brand new state-of-the-art sound system.

Recommended for San José's Best Nightlife because: This is the ultimate spot to dance and party in San Jose.

Sophia's expert tip: Check out the lounge "The Den" for Hip-Hop and Reggae on Fridays and Deep House on Thursdays.

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Meet Sophia LaMonica

On Sophia's first trip to Costa Rica, she came face to face with white-faced monkeys, gasped at the sight of giant purple crabs, and rode horseback through plunging waterfalls. Costa Rica...  More About Sophia